The real loser wasn’t even a party to the nationally publicized lawsuit. While California Hardbodies owner Bob Manthey exulted over Friday’s ruling by federal court Judge Eugene Lynch that Santa Rosa’s new anti-nudity ordinance is too broad and cannot be enforced, the venue at which it all came to a head may be about to disappear. The court case–which still awaits final resolution–hinges on the law’s exemption clause, which states that it “shall not apply to a theater, concert hall, or similar establishment which is primarily devoted to theatrical performances.” That clause does not adequately define what constitutes such a venue, the judge ruled. But such legal semantics are of little consolation to club owner Scott Goree, who last week said he would close Magnolia’s, his Railroad Square nightclub, at the end of April. Goree is facing a 30-day disciplinary suspension of Magnolia’s liquor license by the state Alcohol Beverage Control board, stemming from a Hardbodies performance there last November–before adoption of the ordinance–at which the buxom dancers allegedly violated ABC regs by “simulating various sex acts with the air,” the stage floor, and each other, according to a police report by vice detective Steve Fraga. Apparently an accomplished aesthetician as well as an astute law enforcement officer, Fraga also noted in his report that the dancers “were often not in tune or rhythm with each other” and concluded that either their performances were “not well choreographed or the entertainers had practiced very little.” Perhaps they will have im-proved by the time the Petaluma-based Hardbodies tentatively make a farewell return visit April 29 to the Santa Rosa club, for a last hurrah on what may be Goree’s last night in business. He now says he hopes to find a way to work things out with the ABC.
Just in time for the run to the general election. Everyone knows Rep. Frank Riggs, R-Windsor, the county’s resident conservative congressman and Newt Gingrich protégé. A lot of folks also recall the days (during his first term) when Riggs enjoyed a reputation as a progressive Republican, one of only three Republican reps to vote against then-President George Bush‘s patriotic Gulf War initiative. He’s a bona fide denizen of the political right, right? Well, check this out. In a March 22 press release, Riggs blasts President Bill Clinton for supporting a plan to spend $493 million on additional B-2 bombers, accusing Clinton of trying to buy California votes with pork-barrel fat for the state’s sagging aerospace industry. Riggs claims the increased funding “would come at the expense of communities struggling to convert from base closures and defense downsizing.” Instead, he wants those dollars spent helping the folks in Vallejo to recover from the recent closure of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Has he finally found his conscience? Or is this just a clever ploy to court disaffected middle-of-the-road voters?
Evidently you can expect anything in an election year. But we suspect that Riggs hasn’t strayed far from his buddies in the Republican leadership, who are always looking for a way to embarrass Clinton–even if it means asking their hawks to don doves’ clothing.
From the March 28-April 3, 1996 issue of the Sonoma Independent
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